CONTRECOEUR, Que. -- Days after a Parti Quebecois leadership hopeful's controversial comment on immigration, Bloc Quebecois leader Mario Beaulieu has announced his party's intention to hold a large intercultural gathering for independence.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Beaulieu explained the Bloc Quebecois wants to show that a large number of immigrants are in favour of Quebec's independence.

Last week, Pierre Karl Peladeau said that immigration represented a threat to the sovereigntist movement. The PQ MNA and leadership candidate later apologized for his comments, saying they were inappropriate and did not reflect his true thinking.

Without directly referring to Peladeau's remarks, Beaulieu said it was necessary to reach out to Quebecers of all origins to persuade them of the advantages of independence. He said the national question was "the business of all Quebecers, without exception."

Beaulieu said his goal was to "talk, go out and convince."

Beaulieu also said new arrivals who were integrated into the francophone community voted similarly to French Quebec voters, while anglicized immigrants did the opposite.

The Bloc leader also said only those in Quebec should be able to make decisions regarding immigration policies and integration of new arrivals.